Channa-Bhatura is one of those ultimate comfort foods. It can be healthy, if you eat only the channa, but the bhaturas turn it into a delectable treat. Usually eaten as street food or fast food in an Indian restuarant in North India, it has now spread to the whole of India, just like you can find dosas on the road to Srinagar, channa-bhatura can be found in Mysore or Madras, and to my delight, you can also find it in a little Indian eatery in McWhirters in the Valley!

Channa is the chickpea stew, delightfully sweet and sour with tomatoes and tamarind; and bhaturas are yeasted rotis deep fried in oil.
You will also need the ubiquitous pressure cooker, and a kadai or wok to fry the bhaturas.

You need
  • 2 cups of dried chickpeas, or kabuli channa soaked in filtered water for at least 6 hours
  • a pinch of freshly pounded hing or asafoetida
    ( this allegedly de-gassifies the chickpeas!)
  • A little cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon whole jeera
Marinade the following for at least 30 minutes while you cook the channas, prepare the garnish..
  •  2 lime sized balls of tamarind, soaked in 2 cups water, and strained to leave only a thick juice
  • 2 inches of grated ginger
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • 2 teaspoons powdered cummin or jeera
  • 1 cup of chopped green coriander
  • 2 teaspoons kala amchur ( dried mango powder)
  • 2 large potatoes, peeled and boiled(optional)
  • 2 tomatoes chopped roughly(optional)
  • 1-2 onions, chopped medium or fine depending on how lazy you feel.
  • Saunth, or barbecue sauce
  1. Drain the chickpeas, which should be plump and juicy with all the soaking, place in the pressure cooker.
  2. Cover the chick-peas with filtered water, till just well submerged.
  3. Add a pinch of hing. Close pressure cooker and bring to pressure.
  4. After it comes to pressure, turn the heat down, and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the pressure drop.
  5. Open the pressure cooker, and check the peas, they should still be separate, but soft and completely squeezable.Remove half a cup of channas and mash finely with a fork.
  6. Pour out the water, and reserve. (You can even stop here, and complete the rest of the steps later if required)
  7. Heat the oil in the kadai or wok, and when hot, throw in the full jeera seed. They will pop immediately.
  8. Add the drained chickpeas, and give them a good stir, frying them for a couple of minutes.
  9. Pour in the tamarind marinade, and bring to the boil.  Pour back 2 cups of the reserved water, or fresh water, if you have mislaid or poured away the water it was boiled in!
  10. Simmer the channas till thick.  Add more water if required, the channas should be a thick stewy consistency. Add the mashed channas to thicken up the gravy, or "juice" as the street vendors call it.
  11. Turn off the heat, add the chopped onion. Stir it in. The half cooked onion is what gives this dish its peasanty feel. Then add the boiled potatoes and tomatoes. 
  12. Serve with saunth or barbecue sauce, if like me, you cant be  bothered to wait for the saunth.

Eat with hot bhaturas
, pooris, buns, or just white bread. Serve with dahi ( plain yoghurt) and stuffed red chillie pickle.